Several years ago, a customer contacted us with a special request. She was invited to a baptism and was really excited to be included in the festivities to celebrate her friends' precious new baby girl! The challenge was coming up with just the right gift! The old adage "born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth" comes to mind. In times past gifts of engraved silver spoons and cups were the norm, according to the former etiquette guru Emily Post (circa the early 1900s)....yes, I looked that up! Obviously times have changed and formalities are often out the window these days.
But giving a baptism gift never goes out of style! She wanted something personal, yet useful, and something we could hand craft in our studio. Viola, our custom wood baptism crosses were born!
Her friends had decorated their nursery in a sweet pale pink, grey and ivory color scheme using several of our Woodstock Rustic pieces (shown below), which lead to her contacting us for help with the baptism gift.
A baptism cross done in the same rustic farmhouse style seemed like a good fit. They could use it as part of their modern farmhouse style nursery decor, and it would serve as a baptism keepsake that was easy to keep on display...nothing too over the top formal. We came up with a triple layered design and personalized it by hand stamping her name in a rustic "old typewriter" font that our ink stamp set comes in. It added to the rustic design!
She told us the cross was a hit at the baptism event, so we started offering them in our shop, and they've been going gang busters ever since. We've now added a smaller version, too (shown below). These were for a set of twins!
Our next step was adding a baptism / dedication / communion name plaque as well. We created the name plaques after receiving requests for the option of adding longer names and/or a date. We've also had requests for a variety of phrases, so we combined all these elements into one design. Like the crosses, these also can be used as nursery decor, but are a lasting keepsake of the event. Here are some examples...
So far, our phrases include:
- Baptized + the date
- I am a child of God
- Blessed is he / she
- First Holy Communion
- Confirmed + date
- Dedicated + date
We've also had customers order the personalized wood crosses as gifts for Godparents. We can hand stamp up to 11 characters on the crosses, which works for many last names. Or we can add a favorite scripture reference.
We've also sold them for Christmas and Easter gifts with inspirational messages rather than names. Our most popular words are "blessed" and "love." These also work well for Godparent gift ideas. Again, they serve double duty as an inspirational/spiritual gift that also makes an attractive farmhouse style wall decoration.
Finally, here are a few tips for proper baptism etiquette (excerpts from practicaletiquette.com)!
When To Gift? Attendance to the ceremony is different by Church. Many permit family and friends to attend. In some cases, a baptism is limited to the close family--the immediate family and Godparents--and the congregation of the church. Check with the parents to confirm attendance expectations for the ceremony. Extended family members and friends are also invited to a reception after the ceremony.
Godparents. If you have the honor of being chosen as a Godparent to the new baby, your baptism gift etiquette guidelines are a bit unique. It is traditional for you to both give and receive a gift at this time. The new parents traditionally present the Godparents with a token of their appreciation for becoming mentors of their new arrival. And the Godparents traditionally present a gift to the new baby to signify their commitment of being a mentor. Keep in mind that these gifts will most likely be heirlooms or display gifts. Engravings should include the baby's name, since baptisms and christenings are, in part, naming ceremonies. You may also include an inspirational inscription, or a short personal message from yourself.
What to Gift? A baptism or christening is a more formal ceremony than a baby shower, and in religious situations, marks the baby's welcome into the religious community. It is accepted gift giving etiquette to present religious-themed gifts to the parents for this occasion, but in today's pluralistic society, it can be difficult to understand the nuances of faiths that you might not share. In this case, it's good gift etiquette to look for inspirational-themed items rather than attempting to find a specific or unusual item. Typical baptism gifts for friends and family usually run to either the sentimental, or the useful-for-the-baby.
Hope this gives you some good ideas for your next spiritual event!
See you next time!
Jess and the Woodstock Rustic Team